What is a LinkedIn recommendation?
LinkedIn recommendations are commendations written by another LinkedIn member to recognize or highlight your work or achievements.
You can request a recommendation from LinkedIn connections or another member can write one about you without request.
LinkedIn recommendations will appear toward the bottom of your LinkedIn profile in the recommendations section and if you approve, will be visible to all.
What can a LinkedIn recommendation do for you?
There are plenty of reasons why you should gather recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. Within the context of a job search, however, there are 3 main reasons.
- LinkedIn recommendations boost your personal image by demonstrating strong work relationships in the past.
- Great LinkedIn recommendations support the job search process by helping your credibility.
- Recommendations enhance your reputation, a little like a positive Amazon review.
What should a LinkedIn recommendation look like?
There are a few key elements to a great recommendation on LinkedIn.
- It needs to be genuine, people can spot fake reviews a mile off.
- A recommendation should be specific, this means it should contain actual facts and details.
- Make sure your LinkedIn recommendations are descriptive and paint a picture of what this person is like to work with.
- The more powerful the better, if you are able to include metrics and specific accomplishments do so.
- With all the above in mind, however, always remember to be honest and truthful, don’t over embellish and don’t lie.
How to write a LinkedIn recommendation
Let’s consider how to write a LinkedIn recommendation.
1. Align your LinkedIn recommendation with a goal
Make sure you understand what this person needs your recommendation to do for them.
If you understand who the target audience is and what they are looking to achieve, you’ll write a much more powerful endorsement.
Common reasons for people requesting recommendations include; looking for a new job, changing careers, going for a promotion, and looking to gain new clients.
If you’re not sure what the goal is, you should ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask if they want you to include any specifics or focus on a certain element of their career or skillset.
2. Review their LinkedIn profile first
When you write your recommendation, try to tie it in with the person’s headline, About section, and/or experience.
If you do this you’ll reinforce the qualities that they want to emphasize on their profile. This strategy also helps you to know what to write and the kind of language to use and the tone to adopt.
3. Make sure your LinkedIn recommendation is unique
Many people write vague and generic LinkedIn recommendations.
To be effective, a recommendation should be unique, and specific to the individual, not a copy-and-paste job.
You should certainly avoid copying another recommendation on their profile!
4. Narrow down the qualities you want to emphasize in your LinkedIn recommendation
Follow “The Rule of Threes”.
“The Rule of Threes” states that concepts presented in groups of three are more interesting and memorable.
This is a great way to outline your LinkedIn recommendation.
- Consider what are they good at?
- What did they do better than anyone else?
- How did they impact you?
- What made them stand out?
- Is there a specific result they delivered?
- Is there something that surprised you about the individual?
Keep your recommendation under 200 words whenever possible
Think quality of content versus quantity! You don’t want to bury information in a recommendation that is too lengthy.
Review the recommendations of others before writing your own
You can research other LinkedIn recommendations for other people with similar job titles to get ideas on styles and skills. Don’t copy what you read, though; keep it authentic.
Don’t ignore other’s requests for recommendations
This doesn’t mean you always have to accept all requests. You can respond politely and let them know you don’t know them well enough yet to write a recommendation at the moment.
Keep your LinkedIn recommendation professional, at all costs
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Similarly, don’t write a recommendation that is silly or inappropriate.
Ask for help if you need it
If you are asked to write a recommendation for someone and are struggling, it’s OK to ask the person to write a draft of what they would like to see.
4 steps to writing a great LinkedIn Recommendation
1. Begin with how you know the person – 1 sentence total
Give context for the relationship beyond just the job title and organization/company/school, although this can be a good way to start your recommendation.
LinkedIn recommendation example:
“I’ve known Jill for 10 years, ever since I joined XYZ Company. She was my lead project manager when I was an analyst”
2. Be specific about why you are recommending the individual – 1 sentence total
What qualities make him or her most valuable?
Emphasize what the person did that set him or her apart.
What is his work style? Does she have a defining characteristic?
To be effective, recommendations should focus on specific qualifications
LinkedIn recommendation example:
“Jason had a consistent record of delivering year-over-year sales revenue increases while also ensuring top-notch customer service”
3. Tell a story – 3 to 5 sentences total
Back up your recommendation with a specific example.
It should demonstrate that you know the person well — so tell a story that only you could tell.
Provide “social proof” in the story — give scope and scale for the accomplishments.
Don’t just say the individual you’re recommending led the team, but instead include specific numbers.
Supporting evidence: numbers, percentages, and dollar figures lend detail and credibility to your story.
LinkedIn recommendation example:
“Jason worked effectively with the entire 7-member sales team while also making sure the client’s needs were met”
4. End your LinkedIn recommendation with a call to action – 1 sentence total
Finish with the statement “I recommend (Name)” and the reason why you would recommend them.
In the first sentence, you describe how you know the individual and give context about why you are qualified to recommend them.
Example LinkedIn recommendations
Let’s break down an example LinkedIn recommendation.
Scenario: Michelle is a former coworker of yours at Company ABC. She has requested a LinkedIn recommendation from you. Where would you start?
Step 1: Start with how you know the person
I’ve known Michelle ever since I joined ABC Company 7 years ago. She was a purchasing manager when I came in as a purchasing agent.
Step 2: Be specific about why you are recommending the individual
Michelle is a subject-matter expert in logistics, warehouse planning and team leadership.
Step 3: Tell a story
For the storytelling section, a “challenge-action-result” format can be used to describe the project.
What was the context for the work situation on the project? What was the problem that the project was designed to tackle?
What did the person you’re recommending do? What was their specific contribution?
What was the outcome of the project — and can you quantify it?
Her ability to take the initiative to ensure the thousands of items in each shipment were prioritized for same-day processing made her an indispensable member of the management team.
Step 4: End with a call to action
I’ve known Michelle for 7 years and I recommend her after observing her skill and comfort in the area of logistics. Michelle is a customer-centred leader and subject-matter expert in logistics, management and warehouse planning.
More examples of LinkedIn recommendations
I have had the privilege of working with Katie for the past two years at Amazon. At a recent team retreat, she was described by another colleague as a “recruiting maverick” — which couldn’t be a perfect description of her.
Katie is someone I go to when I want to strategize about hard-to-fill technical positions. She is full of out-of-the-box ideas, has a wealth of recruiting experience, and has the best “we’ve got this attitude.”
She is a dedicated team player and is always the first to volunteer for additional work. If I were building a recruiting team, I would take ten Katies!
I enjoyed working with Jill at the American Heart Association and would recommend her to anyone looking for a communications expert to jump-start their nonprofit marketing presence.
Jill wore many hats at AHA. She was responsible for the layout and content of our new website, all of the collateral pieces for our capital campaign, direct mail letters, and the creation of many of the formal letters for senior leaders.
Jill is the perfect package: both creative and analytical. She truly elevated our messaging– and our campaign results are proof!
After meeting Gina through our common membership at Career Professionals, I have had the pleasure of working with her many times, in numerous ways and getting to know her on both a personal and professional level.
As a leading CareerPro/Resume Writer/Interview Coach in the careers industry — Gina stands out to me for two reasons. The first is that she is a consummate professional in everything she does. She is passionate about her work, and it shows!
In addition to providing her clients with top-notch career advice and industry-leading career documents, she is genuinely invested in the career success of everyone that she helps. Secondly, Gina is a wonderful communicator and supporter.
She is easy to engage with, quick to help, and always willing to go the extra mile. Gina has been a huge advocate for Canadian career professionals and the work that we do as a collective, and I myself am deeply appreciative of her professional assistance, guidance, and personal support.
How can you get recommendations on your own LinkedIn Profile?
Don’t forget that you should be trying to get some great recommendations on your own LinkedIn profile.
The best time to ask for a recommendation is just after you have written one for someone else. They will be quite happy to return the favor!
The easiest way to request a recommendation is to visit the profile of the person you would like to write the recommendation. Click on ‘more…’ in their header section and then select ‘Request a recommendation.
This video by Hannah Mason of The English Meeting Room will guide you through the process of asking for a LinkedIn recommendation.
How many LinkedIn recommendations should you have?
The more the better. If you have one recommendation, it’s somewhat powerful, but if you have 10, 20, 30 or more, you are building up a body of evidence that testiﬁes to your expertise, skills, experience and your professionalism.
If you were on Amazon looking to make a purchase, and one product had a hundred ﬁve-star reviews and the other had zero reviews, you would be much more likely to purchase the product with all the great reviews.
Simply put, it gives you peace of mind and reassurance that that product will do exactly what it claims to do.
If you have no “reviews” on your LinkedIn (no recommendations) you’re not telling the whole story. By getting recommendations from clients or colleagues, you are giving a complete picture and you are really selling yourself to whomever is viewing your proﬁle.
You don’t need to wait until a prospective employer asks for references. Instead, you can give them some very compelling reasons to interview, and potentially hire you, before they even speak with you.
Whom should you ask for a LinkedIn recommendation?
Firstly, you should never ask people that you haven’t worked with or don’t have some kind of professional relationship with. You may think that’s obvious, but a lot of the time I have people that I’m connected with, but that I have never interacted with professionally, ask me to recommend them. This is simply not the right approach.
Instead, you should ask for recommendations from people that you have worked with. This could be colleagues, managers, people you have managed and individuals that have worked in the same group with you and with whom you have interacted.
Templates for requesting LinkedIn recommendations
Below are three templates that you can use to request recommendations. Choose the template that suits you best and make sure to customise it with your personal information.
LinkedIn recommendations are a powerful tool for job seekers, graduates, business owners and sole traders alike, and I wish you all the best as you continue the journey of building an impressive online proﬁle.
(Please remember to delete the text in italics and replace it with your own words)
Message to former colleagues
Hi insert name
It was so great working with you at insert company name and I hope you and the team are doing well!
I am currently working on my LinkedIn profile and I would really appreciate it if you could write me a recommendation on LinkedIn.
In particular, it would be useful if you could share your experience of working with me on insert project/task details and how you found me as a colleague. It would also be useful if you could mention insert details of what skills you would like mentioned.
Of course, I’d be happy to return the favour and write a recommendation for you also!
Please let me know if there are any skills you would like me to highlight?
Message to a mentor or teacher
Dear insert name
Thank you for all your support, it’s been great having you as a mentor/teacher.
I’m currently looking for a new job and it would really help me if you could write a recommendation on my LinkedIn profile.
I’m specifically targeting insert details roles so if you could mention my skills in insert details then that would be particularly useful.
I hope to keep in touch!
Message to clients and customers
Dear insert name
Thank you once again for your recent business and for your positive review on insert platform details.
I’d love to have your review featured on my LinkedIn profile also.
If you’re happy to do so, please could you click on the link here and copy and paste the below text into the recommendation. Of course, you can write something else if you’d prefer but I thought this would save you some time.
Insert review text
I hope to have the opportunity to do business again with you soon.
LinkedIn recommendations are very powerful, they are a digital record that builds credibility and trust. Social proof is increasingly important in our online age and LinkedIn recommendations are fantastic social proof.
Writing someone a great LinkedIn recommendation can help to boost their job search and help to build a strong personal brand. Don’t forget to ask for one in return!
About the author
Adrienne Tom is a 31X international award-winning executive resume writer and job search strategist who recognized a gap in the market for quality resume services and jumped in to put her writing (and career coaching) skills to work!
Over the past 15+ years, Adrienne has produced thousands of career documents for some of the best and brightest business minds in Canada and the US, helping professionals gain valuable traction in their job search to secure advanced roles.
As a testament to her expertise, Adrienne has secured several prestigious industry recognitions, including multiple Awards of Excellence from Career Professionals of Canada for outstanding Canadian Resume Writing, and several TORI Resume Writing Awards from Career Directors International.
You can reach out to Adrienne at Career Impressions.